Progress has a speed all its own on Ambergris Caye. Sometimes you can watch for years as projects go up around you. Slowly. Very slowly.
Resorts and condo projects for example.
Some have been in the building stage since long before we got here and look like they will still be in the building stage long after we are gone. In between, they may experience a bankruptcy or two, experience a resurrection by the hand of a financial angel, all sorts of curious financial intrigues. And hardly a wall gets poured as rebar returns to rust.
Then there are things that actually look like they are getting done. Small things, in the current scale of island projects. Read the rest of this entry »
Quite a few people have asked me recently about Moppit.
For example, when a crazy-ass San Pedro taxi driver with a “Pretty chicks only” decal on the back window of his dust-encrusted van knocked me off my bike and I was laid flat out in the street, a number of friends rushed up to me.
“How’s Moppit been?” one asked.
“Is Moppit adjusting to you OK? If not, I’d be glad to have her,” said another.
“Any time you want to go somewhere, I’ll babysit Moppit for you,” offered a third.
And so it goes. Read the rest of this entry »
If God wanted Belize to be a black and white photo, he would have called it Lower Manhattan.
If ever a country was born to serve up every smudge in the global color palette, it is Belize. Even during an overcast day, Belize pops with colors unlike any you will encounter elsewhere in the world. Clearly, a special light is cast over the country.
Especially here on Ambergris Caye.
So, what’s with all the black and white photography? Read the rest of this entry »
You know how you can be in a certain situation and all of a sudden, boom, a solution appears right at your fingertips? And sometimes, you are in a situation — and not even aware of it until the solution appears?
I’m talking, of course, about the recent New York Times Magazine “Tip” article, “How to Stand Still.”
The article interview John Eicke, a German whose resume lists his major skill as “living statue.”
I’m sure the NYT had no idea how relevant such an article would be to a guy who lives on a tropical island off the coast of Belize, especially now that the rainy season is almost over.
I too have been mistaken for a statue. Read the rest of this entry »
It sort of follows that once you build a first-class football field you should expect it to attract a classier level of football.
Well, that’s happening at Ambergris Stadium in San Pedro, Belize. The town-built field opened earlier this year and has been host to some fine games, none of which I’ve been able to get to until last week.
Ambergris Caye has its own Premier League team this year and as the new kid on the block, they’re doing alright. Until last Saturday, the San Pedro Pirates F.C. had gone undefeated in three home games. Playing on the road has shown the Pirates to be a more-vulnerable team. No wins away. Read the rest of this entry »
The e-mail said, we have a few questions about living an expat life that we would like you to answer. And it shouldn’t take more than five minutes . . . that’s when I knew the e-mail was from an editor. No writing should take anyone more than five minutes to complete, according to every editor for which I’ve ever worked. That’s how editors think. That’s their job.
So, three hours later, this is what I came up with.
I’ve said it before, I like these questionnaires. They are lazy work for the person who sends them out, but they can prove enlightening for the person who must reach down inside and come up with some answers — about 24 of them in this case.
So, here’s the deal. I’ve been living on a tropical island for nearly four years now. It is probably about time I ask myself “Why?” Will I be here for the rest of my life? Am I slowly going insane from all the rampant beauty that surrounds me? Where can I find a cheap meal? Am I getting enough exercise? Am I drinking too much local rum? Does anyone out there know or care where I am? Hello? Hello? Knock, knock . . Read the rest of this entry »
“Our determination to keep things stable and our country free must never falter. And it is in that context that I endorse this September’s thematic call for us to ceaselessly renew our nation-building resolve. But let our patriotism be year-round, and not just a seasonal thing. Let it be a wellspring for inexhaustible optimism, for never seeing through a glass, darkly. And let it ensure that the inevitable disagreements within a democracy on the move, never become so dissonant as to upset our ultimate oneness and indivisibility. As it is on this day, on this venerated hill, so let it be always: that red and white and blue and white in the end merge to become red, blue and white.”
— Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize, Independence Day 2017
As expected, this morning’s 10 a.m. Independence Day jump-up parade in San Pedro, Belize, began right on time: about 12:30 p.m.
The day that we arrived in Truckee, California from Belize, my sons Brendan and Chris and six-year-old grandson, Brody, decided what I needed most was a mountain bike ride.
This is an absolutely nothing story and if you want to move on with your life, that’s OK by me.
It is just that I need to put it down on paper to see if it all really happened the way I think it did.
It started on Sunday with a pool party down the road, next to Coco Loco’s Beach Bar. The party was actually a continuation of a birthday party from the day before which included a glorious day aboard the No Rush catamaran with snorkeling and good food, plenty of rum punch, great friendship and a brilliant sun over head.
I’m pretty sure it was the last one that did me in. Rookie mistake, going the whole day without sunscreen. My face looked like a two-tone bowling ball: Pale white where the bandana sat and an awful shade of burgundy from my forehead south. (Right now it looks like a badly peeling bowling ball … .) Read the rest of this entry »
The breeze, steady as ever through the night, picked up urgency around 5:30 this morning. The time is a guess. The first water taxi hadn’t yet sped up the coast. The bell-curve thump-and-rumble of that boat is like a morning cock’s crow to mainlanders. Only more pleasant.
It was still too black out to see, but my wind gauge was beginning to go off the charts.
I use the rustle of the coconuts and palms posted outside my bedroom window as a reliable source of wind information. Slightly breezy and they sound like waves lapping against the beach.
In fact, I’ve learned to distinguish the lapping of waves against the rustle of fronds. It is an art that takes time to train a keen ear. It often requires lying very still in bed, listening closely to the sounds and then opening one eye, ever so slightly, to observe the weather outside and measure it against the assumptions. Read the rest of this entry »